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Northumbria spinout raises £1.4m for lung testing device

PulmoBioMed Image credit: PulmoBioMed

A spinout from Northumbria University has secured £1.4m to commercialise its lung testing technology for asthma diagnosis.

PulmoBioMed has developed a non-invasive mouthpiece to collect fluid samples from the lungs to detect conditions like asthma.

The handheld device, called PBM-HALE, separates aerosol droplets from the mouth from those originating from the deep lung. Samples are then stored in a separate coolant chamber developed by the spinout.

The Newcastle-based startup claims this is 40 times cheaper than endoscopy, a test in which a long tube with a small camera is passed down the throat and into the lung.

“PulmoBioMed was founded during the pandemic to address the need for reliable breath-based diagnostics,” said Dr Sterghios Moschos, founder and CEO of PulmoBioMed.

“We have solved fundamental problems to enable quick and non-invasive deep lung sampling, with minimal training, and as frequently as necessary.”

Moschos, a molecular biologist with over two decades of experience, previously developed a test for the Ebola virus disease during the 2015 outbreak in West Africa.

PulmoBioMed said it will use the influx of capital to target the US market and develop a “cost-effective manufacturing process”.

Funding came from the North East Venture Fund, which is managed by Mercia Ventures, along with SFC Capital and private investors from the UK, US and EU.

Northumbria University, from which PulmoBioMed span out of in 2020, also provided funding.

The spinout has separately secured an additional £700,00 grant from Innovate UK, the state innovation agency.

“PulmoBioMed’s technology has the potential to deliver enormous impact in healthcare on a global scale and we are thrilled to see this recognised through strong investor confidence in this Northumbria spinout,” said Professor Andy Long, vice-chancellor and chief executive at Northumbria University.

“This investment success reflects the calibre of the University’s growing pipeline of IP arising from our world-class research and highly entrepreneurial teams.”

Alex Simpson of Mercia Ventures said PulmoBioMed “demonstrates the rise of the health tech industry in regions like the North East”, adding that “world-class innovations are no longer confined to the ‘golden triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London”.

PulmoBioMed’s team includes Professor Sir Peter J Barnes, and Dr Huw Edwards, the founding CEO of the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association.

Read more: UKTN’s North East regional tech report